When you first find out that your child is on the autism spectrum, it can be extremely overwhelming. Although it’s not all bad, it does mean that there are a lot of decisions to be made — occupational therapy, early intervention, behavioral support. And, unfortunately, a lot of those decisions come hand-in-hand with a heavy financial burden. When Cassandra, mother to an autistic two-year-old, discovered this, she set out to make a difference by founding Mom to Mom — a service dedicated to making play therapy tools more affordable for parents. This is Cassandra’s story in her own words:
“Nearly two and a half years ago, my life was changed in the most amazing way possible; my son Miles was born. He was immediately, and continues to be, my light and my love. He has taught me more about myself in these last two years than I had learned in my 33 years prior.
Fast forward to Miles' one year pediatrician visit and we noticed he wasn't meeting all of the ‘typical’ milestones. He wasn't yet walking or attempting to talk, and there were significant motor delays.
Speech, occupational, and physical therapy were immediately recommended for Miles. As a mom whose family income is limited, I was worried about the future costs, but I knew that, no matter what, my son would receive the therapies he needed.
As different therapists came, and continue to come, into our home, many toys, games and therapy equipment have been recommended for us so that Miles can continue to "work" on his new skills. As a mother/wife living on a strict budget, purchasing all of these supplies was unrealistic. Yet, like all parents, I want my child to have the best opportunities for success.
Recently, I have begun going to the dollar store in my area to recreate some of the games and toys that have been suggested for us. It was during my most recent attempt at making a therapy tool for Miles that I asked myself: ‘what if there was a place where other parents could buy/sell the therapy tools their child no longer needed at a discounted rate?’
After some research, I found that there was not yet such a place. At that moment, Mom to Mom: New and Gently Used Developmental Toys and Supplies was born! I am attempting to set up a place online where parents can buy, sell, and swap developmental therapy supplies at a significantly lower cost. As children grow and succeed in their therapy journeys, they no longer need the therapy items they purchased for particular goals or tasks, and now they can pass them along to other parents through our page.”
Cassandra’s journey is still in its early days, but her mission has already helped one young boy find his voice by connecting him with the CogniToys Dino. As her site grows, she hopes that it will one day become a resource where therapists, doctors, and schools alike can refer their clients/students to find the items they need at a more affordable price. To help support Cassandra’s efforts, you can visit her GoFundMe page. You can also learn more about Mom to Mom here.